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I am trying to use the algorithm, algorithmicx, and caption environment. In the log file I have

Release 2.5 -- March 13 1995 --

and I have compiling errors which other people don't have. So I would like to update the distribution, and the packages. On Linux, how do I do this? From the synaptic package manager I cannot find a suitable listing.

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It would be very helpful if you would tell us which Linux Distribution you are using (The reference to synaptic package points to either Debian or Debian-derived Linux like Ubuntu) and in which version. Also which LaTeX distribution are you using? (Most likely TeXLive, but older Linuxes might still run tetex). – Martin Scharrer Apr 4 '11 at 15:02
I just posted an answer to your question on superuser.com (superuser.com/questions/266426/updating-tex-on-linux) – Jan Hlavacek Apr 4 '11 at 15:13
up vote 10 down vote accepted

I strongly recommend installing TeX Live using its own installer and not as Linux package of your Linux distribution.

To do so following the instructions at http://tug.org/texlive/quickinstall.html.

Basically get the latest installer from http://mirror.ctan.org/systems/texlive/tlnet/install-tl-unx.tar.gz, unzip it and run the included install-tl script. You can then select the collections/packages you want to install using a ASCII-based GUI. If you don't mind the ~2.8GB HD space I would recommend you to install the full TeX Live to avoid any problems with missing package or fonts in future documents.

You can then update your TeX Live installation using tlmgr update --self --all (normally as root, e.g. via sudo). This is not possible if you use the TeXLive packages from Debian or Ubuntu. They do not ship tlmgr and do not update their packages very often. AFAIK Ubuntu still ships TeX Live 2009.

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But there are also some downsides to manual installation: it might do things differently and/or not in a way expected by the OS, and you have to remember to periodically run the update command. Also if you tell the OS's package manager to install any package dependent on TeX, the system version of TeX will still be pulled. – Andrey Vihrov Apr 4 '11 at 15:42
Here can be found an analysis of the pros and cons of each type of installation. – pmav99 Apr 4 '11 at 15:45
@Andrey: Indeed, stopping the OS from installing its outdated packages is a pain. You can install first all packages from the OS and then install TeXLive manually to avoid most of the pain. – Martin Scharrer Apr 4 '11 at 15:47

If you're using Debian or a Debian-based distribution like Ubuntu, then you should check out the additional instructions on http://www.tug.org/texlive/debian.html to manually install TexLive on your system.

Moreover, guidelines are provided on how to setup dummy packages with equivs to inform APT about your manual TeX installation.

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